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Premarital Sex More Common Than You Think

By Nina Jacinto
 
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The verdict is in: your moms and grandmas may have been lying about waiting until marriage to have sex.

The Guttmacher Institute has released a report about rates of pre-marital sex in the United States. Using data from 1982, 1988, 1995 and 2002 National Surveys of Family Growth, conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the report studies having vaginal intercourse prior to the first month of marriage or having vaginal intercourse while unmarried.

Males were more likely to have premarital sex at nearly every age, and by age 44, over 90 percent of males and females had had premarital sex. Forty-eight percent of individuals who turned 15 between 1954 and 1963 had premarital sex by 20. Of those in the 1994-2003 cohort, 74 percent had premarital sex by age 20. So while there has been a leap, it may not be as a big a leap as many of us expected.

The increase over the course of decades may have something to do with more effective contraceptive methods and easier access to these methods. Ninety-four percent of individuals who abstained until at least age 15, had sex by 44. Eighty-nine percent who abstained until they became adults, had premarital sex by age 44. And perhaps most startling, among women who were born in the 1940s, nine in ten had sex before marriage.

Study author Lawrence Finer states, “This is reality-check research. Premarital sex is normal behavior for the vast majority of Americans, and has been for decades."

The study does in fact turn certain attitudes about premarital sex on their heads. The myth that all women prior to the 1960s were somehow more likely to subscribe to abstinence until marriage is being dispelled through this research. Furthermore, the study calls into question abstinence only education as an effective method of preventing or dissuading against having sex.

There are many reasons for believing in having or not having sex before marriage. These values may come from family, friends, or community organizations.

Add a Comment1 Comments

EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

We Muslim girls have only oral or anal sex before marriage and think it ok in most cases.

November 18, 2010 - 4:21am
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